January 31, 2014

Five for Friday... FREEBIE

It's once again Friday so you know what that means...

First... this was a SHORT week; however, it was a LONG week! Short in that my work week consisted of only two days. Long in that my work week consisted of only two days. The other three days I was stuck indoors due to the extreme brr! temperatures. The cold is over for now, but there is something just as bad in our future. Take a look at the prospective weather for mid-week next week... I don't even want to mention that I am in the pink! Pun intended but not in a good way.

Next, we did manage to get a LOT of work accomplished in just two days.

Ms. Murphy, my student teacher, completed the perfect tense craftivity (one of Deb Hanson's projects) that she started with my sixers last week, pre-polar vortex. They turned out awesome!

My fifth graders and I completed our snow globe projects/stories that we started last week. I just LOVE how these turned out. Their snow globes are adorable, and their first person narratives are wonderful! They worked so hard on their writing, and they followed directions so well. I am VERY proud of them!!!

We celebrated Catholic Schools Week this week. Unfortunately, most of the events that we had planned got nixed due to the cold weather. We did have Throwback Thursday, however, where our students were invited to dress as their parents would've dressed whilst they were in school. Ms.Murphy surprised all of us by wearing her old school uniform from when she was a student at our school. The kiddos LOVED it!!!!!

And finally something non-school related... my fur babies! Look, they actually sat together on my lap for the FIRST time. Granted it was for only a couple of minutes, but that is REAL progress. AND it only took seven weeks!

Oops, almost forgot... Since it's Friday, it's time for a FREEBIE. This week's freebie is in honor of Chinese New Year which begins today: Gung Hay Fat Choy! Here are some brag tags to share with your students. You can download them HERE or by clicking on the graphic.

Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

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January 29, 2014

What's Happenin' Wednesday?

Not a whole lot... YET! We were still out of school today due to the frigid temps, but it looks like we MIGHT make it back for Thursday and Friday! MIGHT because a new, unexpected, wind chill advisory has JUST been issued for tonight into tomorrow morning... sigh! The air temp. is ONLY supposed to reach a low of zero and the wind chills are ONLY going to be -15 degrees... nothing compared to the past two days! That's why I say we MIGHT be back in school on Thursday.

I've kept busy these last four school days off, plus two weekend days, doing a whole host of things from practicing piano to doing dishes and everything in between. I've even had great fun creating some new products to add to my TpT Store. One that I have had great fun making is a SCOOT/SCATTER game for Groundhog Day.

I designed this for my fifth and sixth graders to use whenever we get back to the classroom. It'll be a fun way to get them thinking Language Arts again. There are various skills highlighted on the task cards: synonyms/antonyms, recognizing parts of speech, captilization/punctuation.

As they move about the room my students can simply write their responses on a sheet of loose leaf paper; however, it's much more fun to have a cute recording sheet to work on. 

I can even use these cards in a literacy center. I've included an answer key so that my students can check their own work, making the cards perfect for independent work.

With just the task cards, my students can "play" SCOOT. However, I included special answer cards so we could also opt to "play" SCATTER. 

I can select specific task cards to hand to half of my class and the matching answer cards to the other half. The kiddos must SCATTER about finding the classmate that has the match to their card.

I have a small group of students in both grades that work with intervention tutors and often leave the room, missing out on Scoot and Scatter. For them, I created this gameboard.

I'll send the gameboard and a second set of cards and answer key with them to their tutor. They can review the same material in the small group setting while still having some fun! The tutor will enjoy this also.

If you would like this fun product for use in your own classroom it is available for download HERE or by clicking on any of the graphics above.

Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

January 27, 2014

Sigh... A Peek at My Week!

I seriously thought about not joining one of my favorite linkies this week. Some weeks I really have nothing to share, just ho hum routine things. However, this week I actually had several things I was really looking forward to and had planned to blog about... a Monday Made It project (Snow Globe writing activity by my fifth graders... uber cute!), a Tried It Tuesday activity (Genre Craftivity by Deb Hanson, postponed yet again), and Catholic Schools Week fun! Alas... all not to occur due to...

We have missed seven days of school this year, six of them since Christmas break all because of the snow and COLD! And it looks like we might be missing another, maybe two, this week. SIGH! By state law we are allotted five weather/calamity days per school year. Our principal informed us last Friday that we will have to decide how to make up the overage days... great! There goes spring break.

Today, our governor announced that he is attempting to extend the number of school days missed due to the weather this year. Hopefully, he will succeed! In 33 years of teaching I have never missed this many "snow" days. Six was the most back in 1994 when we had an entire week of sub-zero air temps and incredibly low wind chill temps. There are years when we use only one weather day; those extra days that we don't use should be banked for years like this! You can see we still have a few more days of the nasties coming our way!

Anyway, here is what my week should've looked  like...

Yesterday was the start of Catholic Schools Week, one of the most fun weeks of the year. We had a pancake breakfast planned for the entire community... CANCELED due to the cold and snow. Today we had Mass planned... CANCELED due to the cold and snow. Tuesday was to have been a fun excursion to Sky Zone, an indoor trampoline place... POSTPONED until next week due to the probability of another snow day. We more than likely will also be off of school on Wednesday. That leaves two days to celebrate the gift of Catholic education. I'm sure we'll try to get some fun in there somehow:)

On the bright side, I've had plenty of time to work on school things. I'm caught up on grading papers and lesson planning which means I can now spend time blogging and creating TpT products. I have been receiving some wonderfully positive feedback on my ZAP! games. This encouraged me to try something a bit different... a make your own editable ZAP! game.

In this packet is everything that you will need to make your own skill review game: labels, card templates, answer key template, storage tips, and instructions for assembly and play all done in a cute monster theme. All you need to add are the items that you want your students to review. The best part is that you can use the materials over and over, making new games! I'm working on more of these make your own packets in different themes. I think one of them should definitely be SNOW related, don't you?

Speaking of SNOW and ZAP!... I'm still stuck home due to the weather so it's not too late to leave me a WARM comment HERE at this blog post. If you do, I'll send you my Snow Day ZAP! Synonyms for "COLD" game.

I really am looking forward to Thursday and Friday when the temps rise and we will return to school. I'm anxious to finish all the fun projects my classes have in process and start some new ones. I'm actually tired of being home.

I'll leave you with something a former student sent to me via Facebook. I got such a tickle out of it that I hope you do as well!

Happy Teaching (I wish I were),
The Teacher's Desk 6

January 24, 2014

Woot! Woot! Five for Friday on a FRIDAY!

It's FRIDAY, yes, really FRIDAY and I am joining Doodle Bugs for her weekly linky party, Five for Friday, on a FRIDAY! WOOT! WOOT! I can not remember the last time I made it to the party on time!

First up, something none teaching... Check out this photo of my fur babies (Daisy, original cat, and Lulie, new kitty). If you've been following my blog you have read about my six week feline frenzy. This week, I am happy to say, the frenzy has fizzled a bit. The girls actually sat next to each other (sort of) in peace! AMEN (sung aloud). However, today the frenzy renewed a bit... sigh!

Next up, Ms. Murphy, my student teacher... I just LOVE her! She is so enthusiastic and wants so much to do well! She is bringing a new level of excitement to my classes, plus it is so nice to have an extra pair of hands in the room. We are getting sooooo many of those ho hum tasks (cutting out things, collecting necessary materials, grading papers, etc.) done in record time. She is spoiling me! And my kiddos!

It has been difficult, however, to sustain a schedule for her. We have missed five "cold" days since she began her student teaching time. It was this week she was to "pick-up" a second class to teach each day. She hadn't yet picked-up one to do all week and I was in the middle of developing some skills, particularly perfect tense verbs. Mother Nature has put a kink in our plans!

To help with our dilemma we got a bit creative... literally! I turned to my blogging buddy Deb Hanson of Crafting Connections and her AWESOME craftivities. I met Deb this past summer via a linky party and was intrigued by her products. She was offering a free craftivity for anyone willing to test it out in his/her classroom and the blog about it. I was in! I agreed to test-drive her genre craftivity (one of next week's posts provided Mother Nature cooperates) and she sent it to me pronto. Once I saw it, I was hooked and purchased NUMEROUS other craftivities, among them this one that I asked Ms. Murphy to share with my sixers as a review and practice for perfect tense verbs. The lesson was a success, my sixers loved it and worked hard on the skill portion. We were supposed to finish the craft portion today, but alas we are at home.
Ms. Murphy demonstrating the finished product.
Ms. Murphy modified the direction sheet for her purposes.
Students working on the craft portion.

This coming Monday, during Catholic Schools Week, we will hold our school Spelling Bee wherein we will select our representative for the County Spelling Bee. This is all part of the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee competition, serious "stuff". My sixers will compete against the seventh and eighth graders... they are NERVOUS! So we practice, and practice, and practice. I am happy to say that we were able to select our sixth grade winner and five other representatives for the school bee. My eighth graders were not so fortunate; we were supposed to have done their class bee today... another casualty of the cold.

Ms. Murphy is conducting a practice round.

One of the lessons that has been interrupted repeatedly is our homophone lesson. We've gotten as far as discovering common English homophones, focusing on twenty of them, mastering their meaning and usage. I had a feeling we would be off of school today so I quickly whipped up this wordsearch for my kiddos to take home with them, hoping they would keep up with their practice and not lose more ground. If you'd like a copy, just click HERE or on the graphic.

Finally, in honor of all of my snow/cold days and the winter storm that is fast approaching (up to eight inches of snow is forecast by Sunday afternoon with more Sunday night... double sigh!), I am offering a frozen flash freebie! Just leave a WARM comment below and I'll send you a copy of my Snow Day ZAP!. If you are a "no reply blogger" don't forget to leave an email address to which I may send your freebie.

This freebie will end when the storm is over and we go back to school!

NOTE: The above FREEBIE has officially ended... We FINALLY went back to school on Thursday, Jan. 29, 2014. Our first make-up day for all these missed "cold" days is next week, Feb. 7th. We had an inservice scheduled but will opt to be "in school" instead!

Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

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